Volkswagen arrived late to the SUV party when it launched the Touareg (pronounced "TOUR-egg") for 2004, but brought to market a vehicle designed for difficult off-roading. Electronically controlled 4XMotion permanent four-wheel drive includes offroad gearing. Up to 100 percent of the engine's power can be sent to either the front or rear wheels. Offroad helpers include Hill Climb Assist, Hill Descent Assist and a locking center differential.
Newly available V-6 and V-8 engines make more horsepower and torque than their predecessors, and a diesel V-10 is also available. New options include a power liftgate, keyless start, adaptive bi-xenon headlights and an iPod adapter.
The Touareg's unibody structure makes it more carlike in appearance than many SUVs. The hood wraps down to a horizontal-bar grille. Rounded body shoulders and sculpted wheel arches complement short overhangs. Silver roof rails are standard on all trims.
Built on a 112.4-inch wheelbase, the Touareg stands 68 inches tall. Ground clearance can reach 11.8 inches with the optional air suspension, and wading depth is 22.8 inches. The Touareg can drive at a 35-degree lateral offset angle and has a 45-degree side-tipping angle. Alloy wheels are available in 17-, 18- and 19-inch diameters, and Touaregs can be equipped with an optional rear spare-tire carrier.
Trimmed in burl wood, chrome and aluminum, the luxurious five-occupant interior includes standard dual-zone automatic climate control. Cargo volume measures 71 cubic feet when the rear seat is folded. A navigation system with a rearview camera is optional.
Under the Hood
For 2007, the new 3.6-liter V-6 makes 276 hp and 265 pounds-feet of torque, while the new 4.2-liter V-8 generates 350 hp and 325 pounds-feet of torque. The turbo-diesel, 5.0-liter V-10's output is unchanged at 310 hp and 553 pounds-feet of torque, but the engine gains emissions-reducing technology. All engines team with a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission.
Side-impact and side curtain airbags are installed. Antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system are standard.